Thursday, April 15, 2010

the white board

so i went in with the whiteboard today. i wrote כי בו שבת מכל מלאכתו on top (yep, i can do hebrew font. turns out i was writing this on the upstairs computer, where i hadn't installed the hebrew font yet because it's a new computer!)

and i color coded it. oh, i can do that here too.
כי בו שבת מכל מלאכתו

then i wrote:
because in IT (שבת)
HE rested from all
HIS work

the turquoise was color coded for regular words and nouns. the dark blue were prefixes, and the orange was the him/his/it suffix (so chana would see that the same suffix would be different things), and the taf was yellow because it's a ה that turns to a ת as opposed to a prefix or suffix meaning "you." and the red was a verb.

i had chana read the english a few times, to get the flow. then i had her translate from the pasuk (which she hated because she "already knows this!"). then i had her take a marker of her color choice and match the top of the white board (hebrew) to the bottom translation.

it was a failure as a lesson.

reading the english was helpful because it gave her the flow of the phrase. however, she had a really hard time matching up the different components, and found it boring and annoying and pointless and i believe it is still way too much for her to keep in her head. i think the best thing to do is just keep pushing forward and telling her and one day, in a few years, it clicks. i guess time will tell. i'm pretty sure that's what happened with sarah.

anyway, while we had spent a good possibly 10 minutes on all this (including the time in the middle when i stopped to stick jack in bed), it was pretty disheartening that even with all that she still didn't see all the different components.

we also had a screaming fight in the middle (ב"ה, just her screaming, and ב"ה i have worked on this so much i am not reactive to her screaming and tantruming like i used to be) where she said that saying "he" is correct when it should be "him/his/it." because she means a boy. and i said, ok, so should i say correct when you say "he"? and she said yes. and i said, "so then it would be 'he melacha' or 'melacha he'" and she screeched, "what's the DIFFERENCE?!" and i said, "is 'his melacha' and 'he melacha' the same thing?" and she screamed, "NO!" and i said, "should i tell you what it is?" and she screamed that she would figure it out. i'm still not sure how she wants me to handle it. i have to tell her she's right, but also let her know that she has to choose his/him/it. ok.

anyway, maybe you'll think i'm nuts after all that, but i decided what the heck, i'll just see how she reacts to me suggesting that she translate the last quarter of the pasuk. (אשר ברא אלוקים לעשות)
surprisingly (although perhaps not so surprising, as my intuition urged me to do so), she agreed.
she remembered "that."
naturally, she forgot "bara." i gave her a choice of "he" or "she" and she chose she. sigh.
then i turned to the first pasuk and showed her bereshis bara elokim and said "in the beginning, hashem..."
and she said, and i quote, "what mommy? sorry, i didn't hear you. i heard "blah blah blah blah, hashem." "

note to parents and teachers: i believe that students frequently hear that. anyone remember how the adults in charlie brown spoke on the tv specials?
so i tamped down my desire to grit my teeth and laughed with her. then i did it again and she remembered it was created.

since i had the white board out, i wrote "that HE created."
this way she can keep the thread of the pasuk. i think i'll do that from now on. i'll write it down when she says it, then she can look back on what she did when she loses the thread. that way it's her work and she's controlling when she needs help and how she gets it.

לעשות was slightly challenging for her. but then i said it in hebrew "la'asot" and she said "to make."

i wondered: hashem rested from all his work that he created to do? to do what?

but poor chana was wiped out and not interested in the question. she said, "to do thingamajigs." and thought that was very funny.


  1. this is a great illustration - you have this fabulous color-coding idea, and it still doesnt work fabulously. soooo important to know that that happens & not give up when it does. thx for sharing!!
    im curious abt the non-reactive to tantrumming part - are you doing anything at all in response to the yelling, or just answering calmly as if she wasnt yelling?

  2. sometimes i say "you cannot speak to me like that. time out; we will regroup in 2 minutes." sometimes i say "you cannot speak to me like that; we're stopping" and i stop chumash because i can see that she's overwhelmed. her screaming always comes from feeling like the work is too much for her. and whose fault is that? (mine). sometimes i just try to keep the interaction from escalating by me keeping calm and just answering. i usually use my intuition.

    that was the answer for when i'm not being reactive, and i'm thinking about what's best for chana.

    sometimes i'm tense and i react and i escalate it and she cries harder, etc... that's the part i've been working on a lot (lots of practice with sarah :-P).